Coaches react to change with sadness, resignation

May 24, 1991|By Kent Baker

Pitching coach Al Jackson said it best: "They say there are two kinds of managers. Those that are fired, and those that are going to be fired."

That is the gut reaction of a lifelong baseball man, who responded to manager Frank Robinson's dismissal yesterday with both sadness and resignation.

"He was a great man to work for. He let me go out and do what I do best," said Jackson. "I wish I could have done something more to help him. But this has happened before in the game of baseball and it will again. Things go on."

The Baltimore Orioles' new manager, Johnny Oates, said the staff of Jackson, hitting coach Tom McCraw, bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks and third-base coach Cal Ripken Sr., will be retained.

The only change will involve Curt Motton, who will replace Oates as first-base coach after working pre-game with the outfielders and scouting during games under Robinson.

Jackson and McCraw were Robinson appointments, brought in from the New York Mets organization for their teaching skills.

"I've been with him every time he's been fired [by the Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants before this]," said McCraw. "You never get used it. You set goals to bring a title back to Baltimore, where Frank exceled, and you're not able to reach them.

"I feel like I let him down or maybe he'd still have the job. I feel bad because offensively we didn't hold up our end of the deal."

Both coaches said their priorities remain the same -- to get their area of expertise straightened out as quickly as possible.

"My whole concern is to get the pitching staff in order," said Jackson. "I wish the best for Frank. This is tough to deal with, we've still got to turn things around. My job is the same, whether Frank or John is in that seat."

McCraw said: "The goals are the same no matter who's at the helm. Johnny wants us all to finish this out, so we'll patch it up and do the best we can do."

Jackson was not surprised, but McCraw was, somewhat.

"When a team goes this bad, you think about a change," said Jackson. "You know it can happen at any moment."

"I'm kind of surprised," said McCraw. "You know something could happen, but it's never a good feeling when it does."

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